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High-speed fibre optic broadband to be rolled out across Devon over next four years

By NDJNews  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

  • Rolling out £94m fibre optic broadband project in Devon and Somerset. Left to right back: Jon Reynolds (BT), Paula Hewitt (Lead Commissioner, Economic & Community Infrastructure, SCC), Bill Murphy (BT), Sheila Wheeler (CEO SCC), Michael Dunn (BT). Left to right front: Cllr John Hart (leader DCC), Cllr David Hall Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Infrastructure & Innovation (SCC)

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A £94 MILLION project to transform broadband speeds for businesses and residents across Devon and Somerset within the next four years has been confirmed today.

Connecting Devon and Somerset has agreed a deal with BT which aims to deliver high-speed fibre broadband to around 90 per cent of premises by the end of 2016. It should also ensure a minimum of 2Mbps broadband speeds for all.

The contract for the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme and BT, the private sector partner, was signed on Tuesday.

Surveying work on the project will start immediately and the first locations to be upgraded will be announced soon.

This project is expected will also provide a big boost to the local economy.

BT’s £41 million financial contribution will bolster the public sector investment, which includes £10 million each from Devon and Somerset County Councils, £32m Government funding from Broadband Delivery UK and contributions from other public sector partners.

It’s being promised that the programme will transform broadband speeds.

Average speeds are currently around 9 Mbps in Devon and around 8Mbps in Somerset whilst approximately 14 per cent of premises across the two counties receive less than 2Mbps.

Most of the programme area will receive ‘Fibre to the Cabinet’, where the fibre runs from the telephone exchange as far as the nearest BT street cabinet.

It can deliver download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.

‘Fibre to the Premises’, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business and which can deliver the top current download speed of 330Mbps, will also be available in certain areas.

Councillor John Hart, leader of Devon County Council and Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Board Member, said: “This is a project of huge significance to businesses and local communities across Devon and Somerset.

“Superfast Broadband will enable even our smallest businesses to compete on a level playing field with other companies nationally and internationally.

“That means Devon businesses can expand without having to relocate and benefit from improving productivity.

“It’ll mean a big boost to our economy and the creation of new jobs as firms take advantage of their new-found competitiveness.

“And families in rural areas will be able to enjoy all the benefits of our digital age, such as downloading films and music, which have so far been denied them.”

Read more from North Devon Journal

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  • DavidT5000  |  January 31 2013, 11:45AM

    This is great news at long, long last. Shame it's going to take another 4 years. Can it be sped up? I wonder if anyone can answer a couple of items that seem ambiguous in the report (especially given BT's history of being less than totally open in these matters). Where it says "most of the programme will take fibre to the cabinet" what does that mean. Does it just mean that the lucky few will get fibre to the premises and the rest of us get fibre to the cabinet? Alternatively more worryingly does it mean they are just not going to bother with some of the cabinets at all? Those of us on small exchanges will want urgent clarification on that one. I.e. is the absolute minimum, fibre to every cabinet and I mean every cabinet? When can we find out the specific details on our own individual exchanges? Finally, we will be able to choose the ISP of our choice won't we?

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